June 2, 2014 by Greg Lutton
WARP 9 – COMPONENT REVIEW
Having moved to Norcal from Socal and with the desert being so far away, I decided to take my desert race bike and turn it into a Supermoto. I spent some time on the forums looking for examples of my bike converted and there were so many options and choices, I had no idea where to begin. I then stumbled upon these awesome blue anodized hubs with black rims and said those are the ones I want. Yeah, I liked the look before I knew who made them, don’t lie to yourself, who doesn’t do that?
A bit of digging around, zooming in on pics and they had some subtle text: WARP 9. The hunt was on. A few searches later and I found them. (www.warp9racing.com) Turns out a local shop, MOTOSTRANO (www.motostrano.com) was selling packages with these wheels, tires, pretty much everything you need to transform your bike into something stupid fun. Not seeing my 02 YZ426 listed, I phoned them. Joe helped me out and walked me through what I needed. A few weeks later, maybe three because the wheels need to be hand built by WARP 9, my stuff came in and was ready for pickup.
Unwrapping the rims and hubs took my breath away. They looked awesome! I took my wheels to a local shop to have the tires put on and balanced. When I came to pick them up, three of the guys came up and said these were some of the lightest wheels they have ever seen. The kit came with Michelin Pilots DOT tires and tubes. I do have to say, they looked sexy and fast. Hope I could live up to their looks.
I pulled off my rear tire, for some reason I always do rears first, maybe because it is the driving wheel which to me matters more. Slid out the axle, kept the spacers handy. Now was also a good time to put in my new axle sliders. It was simple, slid it all back together and it just went on like nothing. The wheel had to be tilted to get it past the chain guide but nothing drastic. All in all a pretty quick and painless process. Seemed awesome.
Now for the front tire. Got everything off including the brake caliper seeing the front wheel has a massive rotor and you need to use an extension bracket. Got it mounted and put the caliper back on. WRONG. Couldn’t get the caliper onto the rotor like you do with a motox so off came the caliper. Now, with it off, I put the wheel on using the new spacers Warp 9 sent. Something looked a bit off as it seemed like my forks were pinching together. They were. I was stumped as it should have been an easy swap. I loosened the axle and sure enough, I needed wider spacers. I busted out the calipers, measured the gap. Gave Warp 9 a call in the morning and Tech Support knew exactly what I needed and sent me not one but TWO sets of spacers. They showed up in a few days and fit just right. Now onto the caliper…
For some reason the caliper was an issue due to the size of the rotor and the clearance from the rim. A bit of wiggling and it fit but it was a total pain. If I got a flat at the track this could be a day killer between heats. I looked at the caliper and found the culprit, some reinforced fins on the housing of the caliper. Quick hit from the angle grinder and these were gone and now I can take it on and off with ease. Caliper works just fine and I have seen others do the same thing.
Now with this awesome wheelset, I was ready to test it out. I took my bike up to Sonoma and did my first ever track day. I had no idea what I was doing. Road tires on a dirt bike riding on asphalt? Ha! This was so foreign to me. A year and a half after getting my WARP 9 wheel set I am still using them, haven’t had one issue yet. And they still look as awesome as they did when I first saw them. For an entry level supermoto racer these were the best choice for me. Light, awesome, built well and cost effective. Did I mention how they looked? If I was a pro, I would still use them. Not only do I have WARP 9 hubs and rims, but I also have shifters and rear brake pedals.
Seeing how awesome the wheels were, I decided to upgrade my shifter and rear brake, I mean who doesn’t like color coordinated stuff from the same company? You know you do! Seeing I had anodized blue hubs, I got the blue and black shifter/rear brake. All together, they look awesome. I have gone down a few times, and the shifter has survived seeing it has a flexible joint. It was easy to install and I actually like the curve in the shaft as it made it easier for me to shift. The rear brake lever installed super easy and works awesome. It has a replaceable footpeg that also bends if you lay the bike down. I have and it hasn’t broken off yet. It also has some super aggressive nibs that make it real easy to feel for it when scooting around the track. In all honesty, none of the WARP 9 parts on my bike have had any issues.
WARP 9 is based out of Utah and I think they make some really great products worth checking out. They have way more than what I mentioned and they have a ton of stuff for pretty much every manufacturer. Be sure to check them out for any of your aftermarket needs when choosing to upgrade your gear or build a new bike. I can say they have done right by me and if it wasn’t for their gear, I may have not built the bike that got me a 3rd and 5th place finish last year. I am actually building a new bike and already have a massive list of stuff I want to get from them; radiators, foot rests, clutch and brake levers etc. With so many companies competing for business, I found one that has great products that have lasted a grueling race season and beyond.
Get out there and spin those wheels.